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President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) would be involved in the cleaning of.....
President Olusegun Obasanjo has said that the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) would be involved in the cleaning of oil polluted sites in Ogoni land in Rivers State.
Speaking during a courtesy call on him yesterday at the State House by the people of Ogoni, the President said the nation’s oil giant, Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited had agreed to foot the bill of the cleaning exercise.
The Ogonis were at the State House with Governor Peter Odili to thank President Obasanjo for restoring peace in Ogoniland.
President Obasanjo said it was important to support the peace which now exists in Ogoniland with sustainable development programmes which would be declared by the Rivers State government to give the people a sense of belonging.
Reacting to the assurance of Governor Odili that the programme for sustainable development in Ogoni land would be unfolded in the next three weeks, the president asked for people’s co-operation and support.
He said his recent visit to Ogoniland was symbolic, decisive, reconciliatory and peaceful, and pointed out that it laid the foundation for a united, reconciled, harmonious and peaceful Ogoni people.
President Obasanjo, who commended Dr Odili and Rev. Fr Matthew Kukah, the facilitator of the Ogoni Peace Process, for their contribution towards reconciliation in the community, also thanked Ogoni people for embracing peace.
He said: “The Ogoni people I know are accommodating, tolerant, peace-loving, hardworking and believe in justice and fair play,” and advised the people not to allow anything to destroy these virtues.
On the demand by Ogoni people for the creation of “Ogoni State and more local government areas, Chief Obasanjo said states and local government creation were “legislative issues” which I would not oppose.”
He promised that the completion of Bodo-Bonny Road, which was one of the points demanded by the Ogonis, would be given serious attention. As he put it, part of the road if not all, will be in use before the end of the next dry season.
In his response to the demand for his support for Governor Peter Odili’s candidacy for the Presidency, President Obasanjo said: “I will 101 per cent to Odili only after he has scaled through the primaries.” He explained that the stance agrees with the laid down procedures of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and he must be careful to avoid being biased and partial.
Earlier, Governor Odili had described the president as a true brother and friend of Rivers People, and said his historic visit to Ogini land has “transformed the area to a land of hope, unity and peace.”
The address by Ogoni people was read by Barrister Barinua Wifa, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), while the chairman of the Ogoni Council of Traditional Rulers, King Godwin Gininwa presented a symbolic golden key to the president to bring development to the area.
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